I’m in Australia this week attending a memorial service for a very close family member. My attention has been with my family and I haven’t really wanted to write – until today when I saw something that really got my attention.
We recently sent out an email promotion for our new Artist SEO system product. It’s something that we’ve worked on for 9 months and it really offers a tremendous opportunity for artists to increase the qualified visitors they attract to their websites. The business value is significant and the price tag of $97 really doesn’t scratch the surface of it’s real worth.
That’s the background. What got my attention was a response to our email promotion from an artist who said:
Sorry – Way to expensive for an unemployed, cant find work, starving artist…
I thought about that for a while and wasn’t happy. Why? Because I’ve heard variations of this phrase so many times. I’m really tired of the popular myth of the poor starving artist. It’s a form of poverty consciousness that doesn’t serve anyone. It sure as heck is not going to make you successful.
Before you jump on me, let me tell you that I have had times when my life has been really really hard. I’ve been unemployed, without money, and wondering how I was possibly going to make it – not once but several times. So, while I may not have walked in the shoes of a starving artist, I do know and understand some of the pain.
I understand that $97 might be more money than someone has – and in that case it probably wouldn’t be a great idea to spend it on an SEO guide. But to me the quoted message from the artist above suggests that maybe I should feel sorry for their predicament and lower the price.
Well sorry – but that’s just not how life works. If you are an artist and you want to be commercially successful, you have to think like a business. Businesses don’t make money by asking customers or partners to feel sorry for them. They get successful by having a vision, a clear achievable plan, investing in it and executing it. That doesn’t mean that they are always flush with cash – often the challenge with a business is understanding how to grow with what appears to be insufficient capital.
Businesses sometimes take incredible risks to be successful. And their owners at times put everything on the line, including their personal property, to grow something meaningful. Many people really don’t realize or understand this.
There was an Australian Prime Minister in the late 70’s called Malcolm Fraser. I was too young to have voted for him and I probably wouldn’t have anyway. But he said something very insightful. He said:
Life wasn’t meant to be easy
It was an extremely unpopular thing to say at the time, because no one wanted to hear it. But in more recent times I have realized that what he said was actually a great insight into life.
Life here is like lifting heavy weights. It’s supposed to be challenging because that is how we grow and learn. If it’s hard it’s often because we need to exercise a bit of serious creativity and find a solution.
The problem with the whole “starving artist” thing is that once you start down that path you start to think of yourself as a victim of life. And really – nothing could be farther from the truth. We all have tremendous reserves of creativity and strength to cope with most of what life throws at us – the trick is to see your life as a great experiment, to realize that there is always a solution, and to keep your heart open and look for it.
I hope this doesn’t sound too harsh – that wasn’t my intent. I’m a bit sensitive to this topic because here in Australia this week we’re commemorating the life of a person who many times in her life did not have much of material value. But her spirit and enthusiasm for life always found a way to succeed and in the process she touched and inspired many people around her.
I welcome your thoughts on this topic..